Live Usability Lab: See One, Do One & Take One Home


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Presentation for the Connecticut State Library / Continuing Education, September 11, 2008.

This innovative half-day workshop will provide background on usability and define the user experience (UX). We will offer a "live usability lab" with audience assessment of one library web site and provide time and resources to create usability scenarios for YOUR web resources. Attendees will participate in interactive usability testing to evaluate web-based library resources from the user's perspective. You will also develop questions and methodology to assess usability and the UX @ your library!

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  • Start with some questions about creating / using web sites Ever had a problem using a web site? Your fault? Theirs? Important strategy to improve web sites is usability – and the focus of today’s talk… But first Who has a sense of what usability is? Anyone done any usability testing? Steve and Carol and I developed this presentation to show the value of usability testing and how important it is to good design. We based this on a paper I read and presentation I saw by Paul Marty, Assistant Professor in the College of Information @ Florida State. He assumes audience understands the value of good design, and I’ll review some design issues in the beginning of this presentation. I’ll also briefly define usability and the process of usability testing. Marty adds …
  • Live Usability Lab: See One, Do One & Take One Home

    1. 1. Live Usability Lab: See One, Do One & Take One Home Stephanie Willen Brown Electronic Resources Librarian University of Connecticut [email_address] 860.486.4855
    2. 3. Paul Marty: <ul><li>“… only a small amount of time is necessary to demonstrate … that the best way to evaluate an interface for usability is to test that interface with representative users .” </li></ul>Marty, Paul + Michael Twidale, “Usability@90mph” FirstMonday , 2005
    3. 4. Act Like a User: Find Information about Diabetes <ul><li>Two questions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What’s the first thing you see? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Where can you get information on diabetes? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Site 1 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Site 2 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Site 3 </li></ul></ul>
    4. 5.
    5. 6.
    6. 7.
    7. 8. Today <ul><li>Why are UX, usability important? </li></ul><ul><li>Live Usability Lab, I </li></ul><ul><li>UConn’s usability test </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Test </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Results </li></ul></ul><ul><li>*** break *** </li></ul><ul><li>Live Usability Lab, II </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Another site </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop questions as a group </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Live Usability Lab, III </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What will you take home? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Discuss </li></ul></ul>
    8. 9. Why Should We Care About UX? <ul><ul><li>“ Your web site is the embodiment of your library ... For customers to feel they have a good relationship with your library, they must first feel they have a good relationship with the web site — and that begins with the user experience.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Paraphrased from </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Garrett, J.J. “Customer Loyalty and the Elements of User Experience” </li></ul></ul>
    9. 10. The Elements of User Experience
    10. 11. What is Usability? <ul><li>Usability … assesses how easy user interfaces are to use . The word “usability” also refers to methods for improving ease-of-use during the design process. </li></ul>Jakob Nielsen, Usability 101
    11. 12. Components of Good Design <ul><li>Learnability </li></ul><ul><li>Efficiency </li></ul><ul><li>Memorability </li></ul><ul><li>Error recovery </li></ul><ul><li>Satisfaction </li></ul>
    12. 13. Satisfaction? Shneiderman, “Designing for Fun”
    13. 14. Satisfaction –> Fun Shneiderman, “Designing for Fun”
    14. 15. How to Achieve Good Design <ul><li>Think like a user </li></ul><ul><li>Consistent design </li></ul><ul><li>Tweak text </li></ul>
    15. 16. Thinking Like a User <ul><li>“… let’s acknowledge the vital importance of empathy for the user . Only by understanding and caring about the perspective of the individual can we design useful, usable solutions.” </li></ul>Peter Morville, Ambient Findability
    16. 17. Consistency <ul><li>Color, graphics </li></ul><ul><li>Orientation & navigation </li></ul><ul><li>Language </li></ul>
    17. 18. Reading Online is Like ?? <ul><li>Reading Proust </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Read long sentences online because it’s easy to keep your place, follow complex trains of thought, and flip to the next screen of dense text </li></ul></ul><ul><li>or </li></ul><ul><li>Skimming citations </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Skim titles & abstracts for keywords, take notes, and move to the next citation </li></ul></ul>
    18. 19. Reading Online: Proust <ul><li>For a long time I used to go to bed early. Sometimes, when I had put out my candle, my eyes would close so quickly that I had not even time to say &quot;I'm going to sleep.&quot; And half an hour later the thought that it was time to go to sleep would awaken me; I would try to put away the book which, I imagined, was still in my hands, and to blow out the light; I had been thinking all the time, while I was asleep, of what I had just been reading, but my thoughts had run into a channel of their own, until I myself seemed actually to have become the subject of my book: a church, a quartet, the rivalry between Francois I and Charles V. This impression would persist for some moments after I was awake; it did not disturb my mind, but it lay like scales upon my eyes and prevented them from registering the fact that the candle was no longer burning. Then it would begin to seem unintelligible, as the thoughts of a former existence must be to a reincarnate spirit; the subject of my book would separate itself from me, leaving me free to choose whether I would form part of it or no; and at the same time my sight would return and I would be astonished to find myself in a state of darkness, pleasant and restful enough for the eyes, and even more, perhaps, for my mind, to which it appeared incomprehensible, without a cause, a matter dark indeed. </li></ul>Swann’s Way / Marcel Proust
    19. 20. Skimming Citations ERIC search: African Americans and mathematics
    20. 21. Jargon to Library Users <ul><li>“ E RIC, I think it ’s some kind of journal … some kind of citation. ” </li></ul><ul><li>Reference Shelf “[It’s] very general. You don’t know what to expect as it could be anything.” </li></ul>
    21. 22. Jargon for Librarians <ul><li>On travelocity, you need the cheapest round-trip ticket from Boston to London. </li></ul><ul><li>These are your options – which is right? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Flights & Prices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fares </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3 Best Itineraries </li></ul></ul>
    22. 23. Usability Testing <ul><li>Define users </li></ul><ul><li>Design questions to mimic what users would realistically do </li></ul><ul><li>Do usability testing early & often </li></ul><ul><ul><li>3-5 users highlights 85% of errors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Better to test several small groups than 10-15 at once </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Note errors, redesign and retest </li></ul>
    23. 24. How We Will Test Facilitator Participant @ computer Note-taker 2 Note-taker 1
    24. 25. Volunteers Required <ul><li>Anyone who hasn’t used iCONN? </li></ul><ul><li>Willing to answer questions about iCONN in front of the rest of us?! </li></ul><ul><li>Leave the room for ~5 minutes </li></ul><ul><li>I will </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Demonstrate iCONN </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Describe the usability test questions </li></ul></ul>
    25. 26. @ iCONN <ul><li>Union Catalog (reQuest) </li></ul><ul><li>Licensed, proprietary – reliable! – databases </li></ul><ul><li>Authentication, access </li></ul><ul><li>Federated searching </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
    26. 27. Read to the “Tester”
    27. 28. Usability Test Questions <ul><li>Login to iCONN site </li></ul><ul><li>Find the book 7th Heaven by James Patterson. Does your library own it? If your library doesn’t own the book, how would you get it? </li></ul><ul><li>Find a recent article on global warming. </li></ul><ul><li>Find a table of contents for Consumer Reports. </li></ul><ul><li>Choose a resource that lets you search your family history. </li></ul>
    28. 29. Live Test @ iCONN
    29. 30. Redesigning UConn’s Database Locator
    30. 31. Redesign Goals <ul><li>Web & database usage statistics greatly outweigh individual library-user contact </li></ul><ul><li>UConn Libraries “Plan 2010” Goal 2: Scholar’s Portal says: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“Provide immediate, unmediated , and comprehensive access to digitized research and scholarly collections worldwide.” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Peter Morville: “Make Things Findable” </li></ul>
    31. 32. Redesign Timeline <ul><li>Began Winter 2006: “database descriptions too long, fix” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>All agreed. But … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rewriting database descriptions wouldn’t solve all problems. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“Maybe we should do more” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ad hoc group started meeting spring 2006 & set up plan </li></ul><ul><li>Rolled out final version spring 2007 </li></ul>
    32. 33. Usage Log Analysis <ul><li>March - May 2006, UConn patrons … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Performed a keyword search 15,800 times; and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clicked on Databases by Title 6,600 times; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Used the subject browse 18,000 times. </li></ul></ul>
    33. 34. Query Log Analysis <ul><li>Database searches </li></ul><ul><ul><li>america history and life </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>lexus nexus </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>infotrack </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Subject searches </li></ul><ul><ul><li>education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>pharmacy medicine </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>anthropologyu </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Topic searches </li></ul><ul><ul><li>hamlet insane </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>adopted children of same sex couples </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ why doesn’t the us have a eurpean-style welfate state?” </li></ul></ul>
    34. 35. Usability Testing: 3 Rounds <ul><li>Who? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>3 undergraduates, 1 grad, 1 faculty in each </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>@ Storrs & regional campuses </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>First tested old system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Major redesign </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tested redesign </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tweaked design </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tested again </li></ul></ul>
    35. 36. Usability Tasks <ul><li>Find articles about the housing market </li></ul><ul><li>Find articles about diabetes for your nursing class </li></ul><ul><li>Your professor said “use a database named ERIC” </li></ul><ul><li>… plus 7 more … </li></ul>
    36. 37. <ul><li>Subject browse: ~ 18,000 ; </li></ul><ul><li>Keyword search 15,800 ; and </li></ul><ul><li>Databases by Title: 6,600 </li></ul>housing market
    37. 38. Search “housing market”
    38. 39. Browse by Topic  Business
    39. 41. Find a Database Named ERIC
    40. 43. Diabetes Article, I diabetes
    41. 44. Diabetes Article, II
    42. 46.
    43. 47. Best Bets in Library Science
    44. 48. All Databases in LIS
    45. 49. Bonus: Displaying License Data
    46. 50. Final Round of Testing
    47. 51. “PERM” FAQ
    48. 52. Tech Notes <ul><li>RDL is public view of data elements from “home-grown” electronic resource management system (ERM) </li></ul><ul><li>ERM written in </li></ul><ul><ul><li>PHP </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>MySQL </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some javascript  Ajax </li></ul></ul>
    49. 53. UConn Redesign Team <ul><li>Stephanie Willen Brown , electronic resource librarian & liaison to Communication Sciences </li></ul><ul><li>Susanna Cowan , undergraduate education & outreach librarian </li></ul><ul><li>Kate Fuller , reference collection maintenance coordinator and / administrative assistant </li></ul><ul><li>Jill Livingston , reference librarian/liaison to the school of allied health </li></ul><ul><li>Tom Wood , applications developer </li></ul><ul><li>Co-authors: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Making Unmediated Access to E-Resources a Reality: Creating a Usable ERM Interface,” Reference and User Services Quarterly, Summer 2009 </li></ul></ul>
    50. 54. Live Usability Lab, II <ul><li>What we need </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A site </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Questions to ask, from user perspective </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Volunteer(s) to test </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Volunteer to administer test </li></ul></ul><ul><li>While we’re developing test … </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Volunteers leave the room and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Refine & develop script </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Think about “take home” site </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Which site </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Questions for usability test </li></ul></ul></ul>
    51. 55. Break
    52. 56. Live Usability Lab, III <ul><li>Usability in your world </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Site to test </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Plan for testing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Or … persuade colleagues that testing is valuable </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Discuss </li></ul>
    53. 57. For More Information <ul><li>Recommended articles about usability testing </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><li>SlideShare of this PowerPoint </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>